Thursday, January 29, 2015

Five is the same as Three except taller. And with more words.

You know, once Noah turned four, I thought, hey, this is it. We are done with the nonsensical tantrumming, the limp noodle-rigid board histrionics, the second guessing of the wisdom of having another kid. And four was magical. Sweet, snuggly, independent...everything you tell yourself it would be to get through the seventh circle of hell that is three. The corner, it had been turned. Smooth sailing all the way to puberty.

Thanks for setting that unrealistic expectation there Noelle.

Then kindergarten happened and I swear the drama has been upped by a factor of 10, not including my sensitive snowflake.

Let's talk about homework. He gets a packet of homework pages to complete in the week, four to five in total, so we break it down to to one page a night. We aren't talking diff EQs here, more like 'circle the pictures that have the beginning sound of /b/.' Or 'Trace and write uppercase and lowercase /E/.' Stuff he's been doing in school already and just practicing at home (see: homework.) Dylan drills Noelle on her spelling words at the same time so it's not like she's off on some magical adventure while he has to slave and toil. A single page will end up taking him 15 minutes to do because he throws down his pencil after every letter with an 'ugh! I can't do this!' which he has just done so okay. Then the tantrum passes and he finishes it perfectly happy without a fuss. Meanwhile it's taking everything in my power to drop plunge my head into the soapy dish water and scream.

What's also fun is food. We've recently informed him that we now expect him to eat the entire baby carrot as opposed the the single bite we were allowing before. I know, we're such monsters. This news was greeted with much wailing and gnashing of teeth which we ignored and went on with dinner. Five minutes later, Dyl nudges me - Noah's carrot was gone. We told him to eat the whole thing and he did. He also shoved the entire thing in his mouth at one time earning himself a really magnificent gag reflex but that's not the point right now.

But the best, far and away, has to do with anything regarding personal responsibility and not just trashing the house because forts are fun! Noelle has been asking about earning money and so we told them that they had been getting a secret allowance for a while now. Actually, I wasn't sneaking it and told them on more than one occasion where their money was but eh, it's just Mom talking. NBD. There are some Lego Friends sets that she would like that are really elaborate and hence really expensive. I'm not shelling out for that unless it's her birthday or Christmas and since both have just passed, she's got a while to wait but I did bribe offer her a deal: If she can save up half the amount from her allowance then Dyl and I would kick in the rest. Teach money handling, responsibility, delayed gratification etcetera and so forth. This took a turn towards chores and expectations around living in the house and contributing to its cleaning. In for a penny, in for a pound so Noah was included too.

See?! I did have a point with that backstory.

Well since we're now going to really seriously mean that that she needs to help out, it's only fair that Noah have similar requirements. The day we told them about this plan (picking up toys, putting away books, generally not trashing the house), I was sitting on the couch after dinner reading and Legos and various cars and action figures were strewn over the family room floor. It was almost bedtime so hey guys, come in here and put your toys away. Noah came in and gave me major stink-eye for not cleaning up. Sorry bud; I set the table, made dinner, cleared the table and washed the dishes. You're on your own. Moving on. Noelle was nowhere to be seen so he stomped around picking up a single Lego at a time muttering "This is gonna take forever!" and "Ugh! I can't believe I have to pick up all these toys!" Yes darling, it's a hard knock life you have indeed.

(I may have been hiding a big-ass grin while this was going down.)

For all that he may drive me insane, he's still my Doodlebug, my BooBoo, my yummy little guy. Five may be Three on steroids, but in the end, I'll take it.

Besides, can Three give you this much ninja?

I think not.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

It's time to get resolute up in here

Y'all, I've given this resolution thing a lot of thought. I mean, who doesn't want to do life better, right? But the regular resolutions are kind of boring so hey, how can I mix it up some - things I need to do with things that are fun or out of my comfort zone. The results? Well, you'll just have to read on to find out. With no further ado, I present the 2015 Road Map to Make Friends, Have Everyone Like You, and Always Be Happy.

1.  Okay, I'll be honest; this one's a bit serious: to run a 5K. I hate running. Despise it. There is nothing that I like less than long distance running. Cross country running*. But my aunt was recently diagnosed with breast cancer so training and running in a Komen Race for the Cure event to honor her seemed like a good idea - push out of my comfort zone and do something to support what she's facing. This will be a stretch as previous running was limited to 60-foot sprints which in a complete coincidence is the distance from home to first base on the softball diamond. Funny how that works.

2. I've had two children. Two very large children. Vaginally. And while I would never trade their squishy yumminess for anything, they did quite a number on my pelvic floor so Resolution Number Two is to convince Depends to sponsor my running attempt as no cotton anywhere is that absorbent. (Why yes, I do blame Dylan for this; why do you ask?)

3. Teach Noelle how to cook. (Full disclosure: she's actually asked to do this.) And as a fun bonus, maybe she'll eat what she cooks! Only having to make one meal will be a wondrous thing indeed. We should get there by 2020.

4. Get rid of the dead tree in the front yard. This should be a no-brainer yet every year, it taunts me by mayyyybe starting to bud when BAM! Nope. Which happens right around tax time so you know that shit ain't getting done. If we gotta rake leaves, then they'd better be our own. I'm looking at YOU, creepy Russian neighbor.

5.  Generally get the house organized. And perhaps de-cluttered. A bit. In some ways Dyl and I are polar opposites: he likes 'stuff' and I just want space. Things piled on every horizontal (and sometimes vertical) surface make me grumpy and twitchy. And you wouldn't like me when I'm grumpy and twitchy. Hell, *I* don't like me when I'm grumpy and twitchy. Though that might mean purging some books. Hm, I may need to rethink this one....

6. Be a grown-up and actually communicate what I want/need rather than expecting people *coughDylancough* to just read my mind and do it. (I know, I totally betrayed all females everywhere with that one. Sorry ladies. Time to put on your big girl pants and deal with it.) The conversations I have in my head are awesome but the imaginary friends aren't going to get stuff done. Damn, look at me being all responsible 'n shit.

7. Actually finish putting together the family cookbook. It's only been 3 years since I've started this project. Uh, crap. *Waves hand frantically at family members who are reading* - This is not the post you are looking for.

8. Write more. Nuff said.

9. Try to be nicer/more patient. This always appears on my list so you can see how well I succeed at this one. Also, get off mah lawn!

Looks like I've got quite a bit of work to do so time to hop to it. With any luck we'll meet back here in December for Resolution Wrap-Up: The Search For More Challenges.

*Eleventy-thousand fake bonus points if you can name the movie.

Monday, January 5, 2015

And on the 13th day, they returned to school

As of 9:02 this morning, Winter Break 2014 was officially in the books.

Thank GOD.

I love my kids to pieces and think they are the greatest people ever but twelve days off was a very very long time for sibling togetherness, not to mention our sanity. The umpteen billion toys received notwithstanding, the days still revolved around live action Super Mario Galaxy 2000, Lego battles in the hair salon and the fight for truth, justice, and all that is pre-shrunk and cottony. The last few days I caught myself thinking longingly of those winter breaks just nine short years ago where I plopped my butt on the couch and spent seven, eight, nine, days in a row plowing through books, the only creatures needing anything being the cats and they were pretty self-sufficient. I didn't have to share my peanut butter with anyone and if I wanted to take a mid-day nap, then dammit, I took me a nap! Of course, that meant no cuddles and no marathon games of 'Life' but for the introvert that I am, it was heavenly. If only I'd known what I was missing.

But for all the text-speak and Mario Kart, I did enjoy spending the break with them - assembling all the Legos, spying when Noelle read to Noah, hovering just out of eyesight as they created yet another world in Legoland, and teaching them how to use a paring knife to chop celery for the split pea soup they wouldn't eat.

Huh, I guess I am pretty good at this 'momming' thing after all.

Now, what am I going to do with them over Spring Break?